Category Archives: Concert Announcements

57 reasons to rock (all across Europe)

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Korean rock duo 57 are heading off for an extensive tour of the UK and Europe this May and June. Originally hailing from Jeonju, they have gone from strength to strength since relocating to Seoul. In 2015, they won the KT&G Band Discovery contest and reached the finals of the EBS Hello Rookie contest, and then in 2016 they were invited to the UK to perform at the Liverpool Sound City Festival (using the opportunity to perform around the UK for three weeks).

Now 57 is about to embark on an even bigger tour of Europe, spending seven weeks traveling the UK, France, Germany and Poland. The Korea Gig Guide was lucky enough to talk with the group before they flew out.

KGG: How are you guys feeling with regards to the upcoming tour of the UK?
We are crazy excited about the tour. It’s really long and we have so many shows. I hope that people are ready for us to come.

How are you approaching things differently this time compared to last year?
Last year’s tour was centered around an appearance at Liverpool Sound City. We emailed so many promoters and venues. Sadly, we hardly got any replies, just 5 or 6, I think. I think that one problem was that we started a little late last year. We did not realize how intense the competition was going to be. It is festival season over in Europe and so there are so many bands on tour. This year we have been working with Patrick from DoIndie to prepare the tour. We started much, much earlier this time around. I think we prepared the press pack and started reaching out to people in early November 2016. That early start really paid off and he has managed to get us 23 shows in the UK, France, Germany and Poland. Patrick’s family have even been helping out as well. His dad helped us buy a car to use for the tour and they are providing a place to stay as well as lending us their tents, sleeping bags, etc. We really appreciate all the help they are giving.

Having previously played in the UK, how does it feel to venture to other countries?
It always feels great to visit a new place. Every city seems to have it’s own unique atmosphere to enjoy. Also, each time we play a show in a new place, we don’t know if we’ll ever have the chance to go back there so we play it as it if it will be our last time to visit that place. We give it 120 percent and leave everything on the stage.

What was the biggest surprise about the shows last time?
It was a great surprise to me just to be able to be over in the UK performing. Of course, it was always a dream to do something like that, but it still felt like a dream even when it became reality. The whole thing was a bit of a challenge, as it was our first time playing outside of Korea. We learned a lot.

With 23 shows planned, how do you recharge the batteries in between shows, and what will you plan to do when not rocking out?
I have no idea! We will have to be like robots and just keep going. Actually, I am a little worried about that, but we will get through it. The adrenaline of the shows will keep us going I think. Also, Snow’s brother is coming with us to help with the driving and stuff. That means we should be able to recharge a little on the road. We have some days off from time to time as well so we will get a little sightseeing in and and relaxation time as well. I think as long as we eat well and sleep well we will be fine. We will take some energy from the audiences as well and use that to help get us though.

Could you tell us a bit about your debut album and what you’re working on now?
Our debut album consisted of seven songs that were made in the early days. The album’s title is “57” and contains a spectrum of sounds ranging from acoustic to powerful. We self-recorded that first album.

The new album which we plan to release in the summer this year is still to be recorded. We have put down some demo tracks, which are sounding great. But as soon as we come back from Europe we will be hitting the studio. This time round we won’t be self-recording it. It will all be done in a studio with the help of engineers, etc. I think it will be a much fuller sound. It’s going to be great anyway.

What’s the biggest challenge for yourself and other Korean independent bands when it comes to traveling and performing overseas?
I don’t know. It is a hard question to answer. From a booking perspective, I do not think it is any harder for Korean bands than it would be for unknown bands from any other country. Booking shows as an unknown band from anywhere is a real slog. It’s not just like you make the press pack, put it out there and people book you. You need to send thousands of emails and always chase everyone. It is really hard work.

On tour … I guess every band is different. Also, we have never put together a tour like this before, so I am not even sure what challenges we will face. I think the biggest challenge is to face up to your fears, overcome them and get on with achieving what you want to achieve. Even if you do not get the results you wanted from the tour, I think that the band grows and develops naturally from the experience of the tour itself. As the band grows, their music grows as well. I think that by meeting the challenges that arise and overcoming all the hurdles then it will have a positive effect on the band and the music we create.

Any final message for those who might come out and see you perform in the UK?
Please check us out on one (or more) of our shows on the Making Fire 2017 Europe Tour. We will be there, giving it everything we have at each show! We love meeting new people so come and say hi and share a drink with us. See you there!

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For more information, you can check out the links below and for those keep to see them in Europe, the dates are included too.

Facebook
Soundcloud
Bandcamp
Twitter

New Singles:
1) Making Fire:
https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/making-fire-single/id1230169333
https://play.spotify.com/album/2Zrm06kGJ6PFFnhOsW2d3F

2) Pray For The Dead
https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/pray-for-the-dead-single/id1230517488
https://play.spotify.com/album/5jSWf9PwZ3SR5DFnIVgZqh

Videos:
https://youtu.be/RoAyJuES_E0
https://youtu.be/vlsfpoD1F_Y
https://youtu.be/rp-CGJpiSTU

2017 Making Fire Tour Dates
May 11: Undegun (Focus Wales), Wrexham (UK)
May 12: ROC2 Studios (Focus Wales), Wrexham (UK)
May 13: The Pot, Rhyl (UK)
May 15: Prince Albert, Brighton (UK)
May 17: Dublin Castle, London (UK)
May 18: 81 Renshaw, Liverpool (UK)
May 19: Stramash, Edinburgh (UK)
May 21: Westgarth Social Club, Middlesbrough (UK)
May 26: Asylum, Chelmsford (UK)
May 29: West Street Club, Sheffield (UK)
June 2: Bei Ruth, Berlin (Germany)
June 7: Chlodna 25, Warsaw (Poland)
June 9: Seazone Music Conference, Sopot (Poland)
June 10: CKN Centrala, Gorzów (Poland)
June 11: Watch Docs Festival, Słupsk (Poland)
June 16: L’Alimentation Générale, Paris (France)
June 17: Lapin Blanc, Réding (France)
June 19: Fuel Cafe, Manchester (UK)
June 21: White Bear, Barnsley (UK)
June 22: The Exchange, Stoke (UK)
June 23: The Saddle, Chester Live Festival, Chester (UK)
June 24: The North, Rhyl (UK)
June 25: Club 147, Llandudno (UK)

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Myungshin Ki Memorial Night Tonight at Strange Fruit

Two of Seoul’s finest indie bands, Crying Nut and Galaxy Express, will take to the stage at Strange Fruit in Hongdae tonight (March 5) at 7pm in commemoration of and tribute to their friend and fellow rock lover, Myungshin Ki.

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Known for his passionate love of and tireless efforts to promote the “rock spirit” of Hongdae both here and abroad, Myungshin headed indie label Love Rock where he helped to grow and develop some serious talent, including the likes of Galaxy Express, Dead Buttons, Pavlov, Yksi and Victim Mentality. He passed away a year ago, tragically taking his own life, but his spirit lives on in the music halls of Hongdae, the hearts of those he touched, and in the music he helped give life to.

Close friends Galaxy Express shared a few words about what Myungshin means to them and why they are performing in his honor. Bassist Lee Juhyun explains, “It’s been a year and so his friends are going to gather to remember him, so we can meet up and talk about him. We wanted to create this kind of opportunity. Because he had a big network and knew so many people, we decided to gather [like this] and commemorate him.”

“While we have a few drinks and sit around chatting and cursing,” adds drummer Kim Heekwon with a reminiscent smile. Then there’s a pause: “Feels like such a long time. Can’t believe it’s been just a year. He visited me in a dream last night and told me he’s doing well. I still can’t believe he’s gone.”

Vocalist Park Jonghyun adds, “It doesn’t feel like he’s left us. Just feels like he’s gone really far away. Let’s create a great memory together for him!”

Seoul-based rocker Max Reynolds first met Myungshin in 2012 when he brought Galaxy Express to his hometown of Texas. Inspired by the music scene in Seoul that Myungshin had done so much to nurture, Max eventually packed up his life in Texas and moved to Seoul, developing a close friendship with Myungshin. Of his late friend, he relates: “Over the years he really taught me what friendship was all about. He didn’t care where you were from or what you looked like or what kind of music you played. He wanted to include everyone. I try to be more like him every day.”

Strange Fruit opens at 7pm and tickets are 20,000 won at the door. It is likely that tickets will sell out fast.

Jambinai and Mono: Post-Rock blasts into Platform 61

It’s dark, grungy, soaring post-rock fun! Korea’s Jambinai and Japan’s Mono will be teaming up for a big show on Jan. 21 at Platform 61, the new creative venue that recently opening in Chang-dong, Dobong-gu.

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Both groups have enjoyed very strong reviews and ratings for their most recent releases from a whole bunch of music websites, like Allmusic (Jambinai and Mono). So having these two hot groups together on one bill should be a lot of fun.

Ssako, Jambinai’s manager, wrote to the KGG to say that he was concerned the online ticketing could be tricky for non-Korean speakers hoping to check out the show, so he is suggesting an alternative.

Just email hivcore@daum.net, and leave your name and the number of tickets you want. Then on the day of the show, you can pick up your tickets at the Platform 61 box office for the same price as the advanced sales, just 66,000 won (at the door, they will be 77,000 won). You can pay by cash or credit card.

Platform 61 is located close to Changdong Station, on subway line No. 4, in northeast Seoul.

To get a sense of the noisy glory that is Mono, here is the music video for their “Requiem for Hell”:

And Jambinai’s “They Keep the Silence”:

I Wear* Experiment Return to Korea this Weekend

I Wear* Experiment are bringing their dance beat-fueled electro pop back to South Korea this weekend. Having played Zandari Festa 2016, the Estonian trio are performing sets of their self-described “sex, darkness and synths”-driven sound in Seoul on Friday and in Busan on Saturday.

I Wear* Experiment have made quite a name for themselves in recent years, performing across Europe with a number of major acts, getting picked up for a film soundtrack, and making it into the top 10 of Eesti Laul, Estonia’s national song contest for Eurovision. Their show packs cinematic soundscapes into a visual experience that you won’t want to miss. Korea Gig Guide got to interview the band ahead of their Korean shows.

How does one wear an experiment?

It means standing by your beliefs and truths without compromise which is an experiment in itself because it always leads to new and exciting experiences. We feel that in a lot of areas and especially in music it is becoming more and more rare for artists having the courage to wear and express their true colors without succumbing to the pressure of being likeable.

Tell us about releasing your first full-length album Patience last year and how your sound has developed since 2012.

As it is our first full-length release we really took the time and put in effort like we had never done before. It was also a first time we worked together with a producer. It was a very big learning experience and in the wind of that we are already working on the next release.

Our sound has become more electronic and we have learned how to “melt” the different sounds together. With Patience our aim was to leave no stones unturned and try to create the best possible sounding album we could. Through trial and error we learned a lot and now while creating new songs I feel we can improvise and experiment even more.

What’s the indie scene like in Estonia?

It is very strong and getting stronger by the year. The last two decades have been great for the indie scene. The shift has been from singing in Estonian to more and more artists turning to English and a more polished and mainstream sound influenced by Brit pop and shoe gaze. You should definitely check out Vaiko Eplik, The Boondocks, Röövel Ööbik, Junk Riot, Levski and Ans. Andur. The recent years have seen a revival in the influences of funk and electro.

I Wear* Experiment performing the title track from their 2016 album Patience for the Eesti Laul song contest.

What was it like performing at Zandari Festa 2016?

It was very cool! We could feel the vibe of Seoul in the festival, which made it special. The first show we played at Zandari was at club Steel Face at noon. We had never played a show this early and we were a bit worried, but the place was packed and people reacted to our music, which is always great. The second show in club Veloso was in the same spirit, people reacted straight away and we had a good energy exchange with the crowd.

Are you excited to be heading back to Korea?

We are very super excited. We all, including the sometimes grumpy technicians, fell in love with the city, the people, the food and soju. When leaving the hotel after the last night of the festival, several of us had tears of sadness for having to leave combined with tears of happiness of how overwhelmingly great time we had had.

What can audiences expect at your upcoming shows?

We always give as much energy and emotion from the stage as possible. We have our excellent crew with us who are the best in Estonia, so we are bringing our full production.

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I Wear* Experiment play Club Freebird in Seoul on Friday, Jan. 6, and will be supported by Silica Gel, Asian Chairshot and DTSQ. They also play Vinyl Underground in Busan on Saturday, Jan. 7, with support from Leaves Black, 3 Volt and 57. You can pick up advance tickets here for the Seoul show here  and the Busan show here.

Korean Reggae Rises Again – This Saturday

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Rise Again 4 — a great night of Korean reggae, ska and dance hall — is here this Saturday (Dec. 17). Now in its fourth year, this annual festival looks stronger than ever, with some new faces and  familiar acts joining together for a great lineup.

Club Freebird in Hongdae hosts Rise Again, with a lineup that includes Kim Ban Jang & Windy City, Kingston Rudieska, Rude Paper, NST & the Soul Sauce, Orixa, Cool Running, Tehiun, and Oriental Showcus. They will be joined by dancers Ms. Friday, Saas, & Z. Sun. Also, great music will be provided by deejays/selectas In the Earth, Eastern Standard Sounds and East Jamrock — plus, all the way from Japan, Hayassen of Totalize.

Doors open at 7pm. Tickets cost 25,000 won ahead of time or 30,000 at the door.

riseagain4b

 

Love X Stereo is asking for a little help

Annie and Toby, the very nice people behind the excellent group Love X Stereo, are looking for a little help funding their latest EP, We Love, We Leave, Part 2. So they’ve set up a PledgeMusic page asking for pre-orders, which will go to creating the new music.

There are three levels of support offered, so it’s an easy way to buy some good music and help a band out. And they’ve set up a couple of previews, so you can check out if it’s your sort of music — but if you like catchy electropop, it probably is.

Love X Stereo is going to be playing at SXSW again this year, and will play in San Francisco as well, so if you’re in the neighborhood, you should check them out.

LoveXStereo

 

 

Summer Festivals Ramping Up Again

Hard to believe that the summer festival season is starting up already, but it is. We have the return of the Valley Rock Festival to Jisan. It runs July 22-24 and its first lineup gets announced in a few hours, but it looks like Radiohead is going to be on the bill.

(UPDATE: Well, no Radiohead in the first announcement. So far, just two bands: Kula Shaker and Red Hot Chili Peppers)

Valleyrock tease

Beautiful Mint Life runs May 14-15, and its first lineup gets announced early next week.

Green Plugged Seoul is May 21-22, and will have Crying Nut, 3rd Line Butterfly, Galaxy Express, Winterplay, Pavlov and more.

The Seoul Jazz Festival is May 28-29, and it actually has announced a lot of artists: Corinne Bailey Rae, Pat Metheny, Terence Blanchard, Rufus Wainright, Nat King Cole Tribute Band, and plenty more to come.

UMF Korea is June 10-12.

Some of the shows have English ticketing on Interpark, but I’ll try to have better links as they turn up.

 

2 of the biggest Korean acts together on Tuesday

Sorry for the last-minute notice, but I just saw that 3rd Line Butterfly and Pipi Band (aka Ppippi Band, aka PPPB) are going to be playing tomorrow, Dec. 29 at West Bridge in Hongdae. Such a good lineup. If you’re looking for a good gig over the holidays, you’ll be hard pressed to find anything better.

Ppippi

PpiPpi Band was the indie band back when I first arrived in Korea in the late 1990s, totally mesmerizing but also the anti-K-pop group. I think I bought and mailed off pirated versions of their second album to more than a dozen friends.

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3rd Line Butterfly is also a favorite group. I really enjoyed them in earlier bands (Huckleberry Finn for Nahm Sang-ah, 99 and other groups for Sung Kiwan). They’ve been doing smart, fun alt-rock for around 15 years now.

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The show starts at 8pm on Dec. 29 at West Bridge Hall, the new concert hall across the street from Seogyo-dong Cathedral. Tickets are 35,000 won at the door.

New Generation of Ska 2015

For the second year in a row, the last Saturday of August is the most important date for fans of ska and reggae in Korea.

For nine years now, New Generation of Ska has been a declaration, a brand, and a rallying call — not to mention a ton of fun. The concert series, started by Ryu Jinsuk in 2006, upgraded to a free street festival last year, bringing bands from Japan as well as the Bruce Lee Band from the US. They played in the car-free Yonsei-ro street that spans between Sinchon Station and the intersection in front of Yonsei University.

Ryu Jinsuk fronts Skasucks at the 2014 New Generation of Ska Festival.
Ryu Jinsuk fronts Skasucks at the 2014 New Generation of Ska Festival.

Thanks to the personal and financial sacrifice of Ryu and his team, dubbed Team New Generation of Ska, the festival reached thousands and was voted the 9th best ska festival in the world in Ready Steady Ska’s “Best of 2014” poll. Through crowdsourcing they surpassed their original goal of 15 million won thanks to 171 individual donors, but still it wasn’t enough to cover all their costs.

“We did get more money than our initial target, but you have to remember that our members have already sunk a lot of their own personal money into this project,” said Ryu in an interview with Broke in Korea. “Honestly, because we had made such a loss on last year’s festival we had decided right from the start that this year’s festival would be on a smaller scale.”

The venue was moved indoors to EMU, a multupurpose art hall next to Gyeonghuigung and Seoul Museum of History downtown. All four levels of the venue, from the basement stage to the roof, will be used during the festival, with plans for exhibitions on ska, live painting, a flea market, and food. They decided to charge money for this year’s festival with tickets costing 30,000 won in advance and 40,000 won at the door,  but that’s still very low for 10 great bands from Korea, Japan, and America.

Anyway, it was looking to be a scaled back year for Team New Generation of Ska, until they were contacted out of the blue by Rob “Bucket” Hingley, lead vocalist of legendary New York ska band The Toasters.

“My buddy Mike Park told me about the scene there so naturally I wanted to come and check it out,” said Bucket in an interview with Broke.

Rather than bringing all six members of the band, Bucket is meeting up with Japanese band Beat Bahnhof who will serve as his backing band.

“The backing band was a matter of expediency as the festival couldn’t afford to fly the whole band from the USA as they are a non-profit and so that price tag was too high,” explained Bucket to Broke. “At this year’s edition of the London International Ska Festival [Beat Bahnhof] proposed the idea of myself playing with them in order to be able to go to Japan in September and so we were able to develop the concept and add NGOSKA to that set of dates. Serendipitously as it turned out but I will take it!”

The Toasters formed in 1981 shortly after Bucket, an Englishman, moved to New York. He brought with him a love for Jamaican music, but at the time there was little awareness of the genre. He started The Toasters as an American 2tone band, and he formed Moon Ska Records to distribute music, basically igniting the ska scene in America which culminated with several years of popularity in the late ’90s.

This year’s festival may not be as flashy as last year’s, but with a solid mix of great Korean bands including Kingston Rudieska, South Carnival, and Skasucks, as well as newcomers Respects and John Stocktone rounding out the lineup it will still be a great day.

The New Generation of Ska Fest 2015 takes place on August 29. The festival starts at 2 pm and tickets are 30,000 won in advance and 40,000 won at the door. Performers include The Toasters, Beat Bahnhof, Lazybone, Skasucks, Burning Hepburn, Pegurians, John Stocktone, South Carnival, Respects, and Kingston Rudieska.

RSVP and learn more on Facebook.

Ska Poster